When playing in a tournament or even a ring side poker game, it will happen to every player: You wind up with a short stack. Most players bunker down and hope for the cards to turn your way in the next hand or two. But if you compare your short stack to an army surrounded, outnumbered and outgunned, you have two options: Surrender or fight to the last. At the poker table, surrender is not an option. The odds are a million to one on surviving and winning, but that still beats zero in million.
Now consider the army that is doing the surrounding, outnumbering and outgunning. They feel confident that victory is within their grasp, then when faced with a suicide charge by those unwilling to surrender. They suddenly don’t want to die facing a suicide motivated assault force, vowing to take as many lives as possible.
Think of yourself, short stacked as the army on the verge of defeat. The lesson for poker is that you never surrender and always go out with your guns blazing. Those one in a million odds might break in your favor. In war and poker, you must never surrender and continue to fight because as long as you have chips you remain a threat that can hurt your opponents.
Just because you are at the final table in a tournament and look like the next one eliminated, does not mean you should quit. Take the fight to your opponents and make them seriously think about standing in the way of your suicide charge. This means making aggressive plays while you still have poker chips – your army – to be a threat. You want to be an army making a suicide charge, not a single soldier with three bullets in your rifle – or a poker player with three one dollar chips!
This of course, only works when you have at least two opponents left on the table. This is when suicide charges and aggression can make it seem that taking you down will hurt them more than you. Be aggressive and exude recklessness and do some damage. Even if they hold a hundred chips to your thirty chips, will your opponents play for the pot when you are going for it with all guns blazing? In all likelihood, they would cede the pot and fight it out in the next hand.
Of course, you sweep enough blinds and suddenly you’re back in the game and worse, your opponents now fear you. You attacked, they retreated, and now you’re back in as a threat, but possibly the major threat.
It is true that such a play can get you eliminated earlier. I am not advocating reckless play. I am saying that you should make your last stand earlier, where your short stack can still bluff and make believable, real aggressive plays. Make that last desperate battle for your survival as unappealing as possible for your opponents and you could survive and emerge victorious at the end.